The Forgotten Silver Kennedy Half Dollars

Released into circulation in the mid 1960's and 1970, silver Kennedy half dollars represent the end of an era in circulating silver US coins.

Uncirculated Silver Kennedy Half Dollar

Additionally, these early halves are significantly more valuable than today's modern half dollars.

The opportunity to you is most people don't realize, or remember, they contain a large amount of silver. Let's start with the first year 1964, a very special year.

In 1964 the new silver Kennedy half dollars were introduced and contained a hefty 90% silver content.

The minimum value is $7.40 each.

These halves were released into circulation in huge numbers, to the total of over 429 million pieces. And importantly, quantities are still with us today as most were saved in remembrance of President Kennedy's assassination in 1963.

A Change in Silver Content

The following years however, 1965 through 1970 the metal alloy composition was changed to a 40% silver content and an additional total of more than 846 million were minted.

Minimum value of these halves is $2.75 each with silver in the $19.52 per ounce price range. It is this group of coins that represent the real opportunity because...

1971 is the pivotal year when the metal alloy composition was changed to the modern Clad alloy, a copper core sandwiched between outer layers of copper-nickel. These later modern halves contain no silver.

Today's Silver Opportunity

And that brings us to today, where the situation is... in many peoples holdings the silver halves are casually grouped together with the clad coinage. Not realizing the value of the silver halves they occasionally slip back into circulation by spending or exchanging them for cash at the bank.

Take the initiative, visit the lobby of your bank and obtain rolls of half dollars. Give them a thorough search for the silver Kennedy half dollars. Furthermore, should you find any US halves dated 1964 and prior, congratulations, all are 90% silver and worth at least $7.40 each, some even more valuable as collectibles.

As you hopefully begin to find a few sliver halves, the task does become easier. There is a slight color difference between the clad and silver halves and your eyes quickly adjust to detect the variance.

Widen your net, visit many of your local banks, and search through the floating supply of half dollars in your area. You just may end up with your own box of valuable old coins. The silver Kennedy half dollars are out there, in the millions, waiting for you to discover.

Are any worth more than the silver value? An excellent question, and the answer is yes, but...

The Silver Plus Opportunity

The values quoted above is the value of silver in the coin. Dealers and collectors refer to this as the bullion value. Silver Kennedy half dollars are worth more than bullion value to collectors if, and this is the important part... the coin is "Uncirculated." This is a coin best described as one in brand new condition, with no signs of wear.

Most silver halves you find, unfortunately, will have slight wear, evident on the high points of the design. However, I am sure many were saved each year as they were minted, so there is always a chance of finding some in "Uncirculated" condition. And if the coin is outstanding in appearance, there is the possibility of higher value.

Grading Condition and Looking for Uncirculated Halves

Silver Kennedy Half Dollar Grading

Examine your coins and compare them to the image. Look for evidence of wear on the high points of the design, most notable on the cheek and shield.

Just for fun, as you are looking through all those halves, pick out a nice example of each different date and mintmark as you find them.

Silver Kennedy Half Dollars Mintmark on Reverse

Mintmarks are used to indicate the branch mint that produced the coin. "D" for the Denver mint, "S" for San Francisco and in 1980, the Philadelphia mint began using a "P" mintmark.

In the first year of issue - 1964, the mintmark is on the reverse, a "D" indicates the Denver mint. If your 1964 half is without a mintmark it was minted at the Philadelphia mint. Starting in 1968 mintmarks were placed on the obverse.

Note: the San Francisco coins are special proof coins packaged and issued as collectibles. It is doubtful many will find their way into circulation. But there is always that chance.

Silver Kennedy Half Dollars Mintmark on Obverse

The Kennedy half dollar is a long running series spanning from 1964 to the present. As an added benefit you can assemble an extensive Kennedy half dollar collection of your own.

After pulling the coins you want, exchange the rest for more unsearched rolls at the bank and continue the hunt for the forgotten Silver Kennedy Half Dollars.


More Half Dollar Value Charts
Discover the value of all your old half dollars. From the very first Bust half dollars to Seated Liberty to Barber halves. Continue to the Walking Liberty and Franklin Half dollars. Compare your coins to the "Grading Images" and find their accurate value on the charts.

Do you have other coin denominations?

Coin Values Discovery... finds Silver Kennedy Half Dollars Value and...
All old US coin values. It is an excellent index with images and text links to all coin series, from Cents to Gold. Value charts, grading images and descriptions uncover how much your box of old coins is worth.




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